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Fix, Don’t Discard MCAS/PARCC

This fall I had one on one conversations with many of our state's leaders and experts on the misplaced opposition to testing in gen...

Friday, March 28, 2014


: In the past year, teens in cities from Newark to Chicago to New Orleans have organized themselves into “student unions” to fight school closings, high-stakes testing and cuts to education funding. This weekend, more than 130 of the young activists will gather in Los Angeles for their first national conference. Sponsored by Students United for Public Education, the EmpowerED conference will feature workshops on speaking in public, using social media to organize, and injecting the student perspective into budget debates. “We want to create a space where students can learn from each other,” said Hannah Nguyen, a USC student who helped organize the event.

— The student union in Providence, R.I., which will send representatives to the conference, has been among the most active groups nationally — and among the most creative. To protest the state’s high-school graduation test, they staged a sit-in at the education commissioner’s office and rallied in the capitol rotunda dressed as lab rats. They even persuaded dozens of successful mid-career professionals to take a shortened version of the test and publicly release their scores. (Thirty out of 50 flunked.) Most recently, the Providence Student Union held a “walk in our shoes” challenge to protest a district policy of providing free transportation to high-school students only if they live more than three miles from school. The union organized students, community leaders and the media to join one girl on her 2.96-mile morning commute — on foot — through icy streets.

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